Everybody wants me to be a robust sequoia in the middle of a deserted land. Such a sight is a necessary symbol of hope, some strength in the midst of despair. Nobody can deny how miraculous it is for a beautiful centennial tree to withstand the hardships of existing in the middle of caked lumps of sand. It is useful, too, when nothing else is available. Some will take a piece of me to keep their hearth burning. Some will expect me to keep standing despite having carved a tunnel right out of my core, just for the fun of driving through. Others will even hope to dance on my stump when I fall, if that is ever to happen. After all, aren’t sequoias supposed to live forever?

To everyone’s great disappointment, though, I am more of a decaying birch in a forest. It looks just like the rest of them, tall and scar-stricken, watching deer run by. However, it is festering inside. In silent pain it feels itself vanish. When the hollow carcass finally gives out, it will swoon in the middle of the woods—swoosh!—a whisper which nobody will hear. A decomposed log, a cylindrical wooden puzzle facing the sun and the dew and the mud, it will be soon covered in moss and disappear forever, long before anybody can tell there ever was a birch where there now lies nothing.